My Milieu – Professional painter Paula Rautiainen

Her love for curiosities and boldness in creating stories with colours is apparent in Paula Rautiainen’s everyday life. She plans and executes the painting of private homes and hand-painted subjects in the stairwells of historically valuable buildings. As a counterbalance to that, she also executes modern business spaces.

My Milieu – Professional painter Paula Rautiainen
My Milieu – Professional painter Paula Rautiainen

Paula, what’s your Milieu like?  

I live in the middle of historical styles. My background as a restorer and scenographer has given me a great foundation and understanding of different styles and eras, which shows both in my free time and work as a professional painter.  

I’m also a collector and love curiosities and antiques. I have a collection of 25 boxes at home that contain over 100-year-old clams and corals, the saw of a sawfish, and the jawbones of a dolphin. I get inspired by adventurers, researchers, and the archives in museums – the cultures of far-away countries. There’s a lot of things, but everything has its place. 

Beautiful interior
Historical ceiling artwork

In my work as a painter, I plan and execute painting of private homes and hand-painted subjects in the stairwells of historically valuable buildings. The colour portfolio I have in my mind has grown with years of experience. Thanks to that, I also dare to use colours boldly to create different atmospheres.   

As a counterbalance to the traditional painting, I’m a part of the team that executes the display windows for the Louis Vuitton store in Helsinki, and I do commission work for various public spaces. These projects can be very simple but equally memorable in terms of colours.  

What kind of atmospheres do you want to create with colours?

Antique, unique things and muted shades create a homely and safe ambience for me. My home feels like a Parisian apartment with an intimate atmosphere. Every room has its own muted colour scheme and functions, I prefer smaller spaces instead of an open floor plan.   

I have previously opted a lot for pastel colours, but now I’m more interested in deep and muted tones. I also like to use colours in surprising places, like the ceiling and hand-marbled floor mouldings. The abundance and depth of colours tell of the stratification of time and different cultures.

Cathedral with beautiful paintings
Interior objects on table

In what ways do colours reflect your personality?

We all experience colours in different ways. Personally, I experience spaces strongly through colours. Someone else might need a completely white space to create something new – for me, it’s like an empty canvas. An all-white space would make me anxious.  

In my dream lifestyle, history and the present would meet. I dream about Marie Antoinette’s wardrobe and life in a French Chateau. I can see myself in a pastel attire made of silk, feeding the ducks in the garden, or slowly painting decorative subjects. But society should be feminist and inclusive. So, the end of the 17th century without the misery and class division.

Antique chairs and blue wall
Marie Antoinette style clothes

What have you been inspired by recently?

I admire the old art and architecture I see on my travels. From time to time, I attend decorative painting courses under the guidance of well-known masters in France and Italy. During them, we learn, for example, the illusion painting technique called Trompe-l’oeil, with which you trick the eye by using light and shadows. We also practice fantasy and nature-themed decorative painting using the Italian Grotesque-technique. 

Besides my travels to France and Italy, I’ve also been inspired by Egypt lately. What stuck with me is the incredible light there and the inn's peach-coloured walls and mid-blue ceiling with a painted starry sky.

Paula Rautiainen painting
White ceiling and purple wall

Paula's colour choices: Fresco Ochre, Eliel Red & Gustav Blue


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